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avenging terrorism- the Shalit Exchange


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tishrei 30, 5772
Three part question: 1. A man murders one of my family, and is put in prision. For politcal purposes the government releases the murderer, and the court gives it’s permision. May I take action againt the murderer according to Torah law? 2. This same goverment is now going to release other murderers for political reasons, who have vowed to kill other Jews upon their release. This action is given permission by the secular court in Israel. In order to save a Jewish life, would it be permissable to kill these officials and judges to prevent this event from occurring. Pinchas killed a heretic Jew who prayed in a Greek Temple, may a righteous Jew today kill a heretical, idol worshiping leader, whose actions if allowed to continue will result in the deaths of many, many Jews. 3. If a man kills a man’s son, and he does not get justice from the secular Israeli governments and courts, may he petition a Rabbinical court for permission to enact appropriate justice against the killer. (These three questions are not a joke, and I am very interested in your thoughts, and Halachic ruling)
Shalom, Your painful question touches upon a delicate nerve in any sensitive Jew. On one hand we are happy together with the Shalit family, on the other hand, the pain of the terror victims and their families, not to mention the threat raised by what our enemies sense as weakness, defeatism and surrender, is frightening. It has already been felt by a sharp rise in terrorism, 5 attacks over the last week (hushed up by the government and press). Nevertheless, these decisions of how to “turn the table” and deter and frighten potential terrorists, and “closing the account” with the freed monsters must be done by the government and army, otherwise it doesn’t really deter. Stooping to their level of vigilante actions compounds the message to our enemies that our State is impotent and that they have nothing to fear. The Jewish underground of the 80’s proved that their actions were counter-productive. Instead of hunting terrorists, our intelligence and police wasted their time hunting Jews, something which encouraged even more terrorism. What Josephus calls “The War of the Jews” against each other brought the destruction of the 2nd Temple. It would be much more effective to apply pressure, have demonstrations, and write to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister Avigdor Lieberman (who’s party heads the Interior Security) that you and many of your friends will vote for the party which takes the toughest stand against terror, politically playing party against party, forcing each one to prove to the electorate that they are not wimps. Suggest to them that erasing the freed terrorists one by one, like Golda Meir’s government, who over several years hunted and assassinated all of the Arabs who planned the Munich massacre of the Israeli Olympic team, will be enthusiastically supported by the entire country (except a handful of leftist judges on the Supreme Court!), will bring them popularity, and will force those thousand monsters to live underground and basically jail themselves. In the long run, the true solution is having clean, young and idealistic people challenge the present leadership and suggest an alternative which will be substantially supported by the masses who want a proud, strong and motivated new agenda. Just like the army has undergone a significant face change over the last decade, it’s just a matter of time until that change will be felt in politics, as well. Thank G-d we are no longer in exile, and even though our leadership still has the “galut mentality” of submission and surrender, it is in our hands to decide how to determine our own national fate. It is difficult to take the Jew out of galut- it’s even harder to take the galut out of the Jew! We have to get used to long-lasting national solutions rather than vigilante or family feuds. Thang G-d, once again we are a nation, and we should stop thinking as individuals. You and I can’t frighten a million and a half arabs, but Tzahal did and can easily do it again, they just need to be given the order! With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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